How ancient architecture design principles inspired sustainable models for modern cities
The natural ventilation
The Zisa ventilation system came approximately 850 years before the technological solutions adopted in modern buildings. It is an incredible example of a sustainable AC system using renewable energies.
The natural ventilation inside the castle was achieved through five main elements: the large pool in the garden at the front, the fountain located on the ground floor, the two ventilating chimneys and large wet sheets hung beneath the ceilings of the various rooms on the upper floors.
The bioclimatic function
The remaining hot air was refrigerated using wet sheets hung beneath the ceilings of the rooms on the upper floors. There was also a large tank situated in front of the castle and collecting the water flowing from the internal fountain. These large volumes of water, besides hosting a large number of colourful fish and water plants, had a bioclimatic function.
Bioclimatic architecture, a new frontier of design, uses natural elements (water, wind, sun) in order to realize energy-efficient and non-polluting buildings. The cubic shape is the option of choice to maximize the interaction with the environment.
The principles of this new tendency were used 850 years ago. These buildings, for their extraordinary ventilation system, play a key role in many contemporary studies and they are a reference example for bioclimatic designers in many countries such as Singapore (Museum of Art and Science), Poland, Saudi Arabia and Canada.